Monday, June 29, 2009

kampong thom.

We are in the middle of no where Cambodia.  Or so it feels like it.  From the moment the big bus from Siem Reap dropped us off literally on the side of the road, our backpacks were tossed to us, and walked down a dirt road to a little church I knew we would be disconnected from everything.  Kampong Thom is not westernized at all.  Our house is filled with scorpions, huge spiders of I don't know what kind, crickets the size of texas, lizards, centipedes, roaches, you name it, it's in this house with us.  Buckets showers for the next 2 1/2 weeks.  We are sleeping 3 to a queen size bed and when I say bed I mean slab of wood.  I'll's not easy.  BUT, in the midst of it all God is teaching me more than I thought possible.  

Pearlito, Rose, and their precious daughter are taking care of us.  They are setting up our schedules, cooking our meals, and transporting us all over this village.  God has called this family from the Philippines to plant churches and raise up leaders within the church.  They moved here 5 years ago, planted this church in Kampong Thom, rose up disciples in the area, and left a month ago to begin this process all over again on the Thai/Cambodian border.  They are amazing to say the least.

I could share so much about the past couple days but I'll try to be brief.  My thoughts and feeling have been all over the books.  The first night was pure excitement and readiness to be in an uncomfortable place like this.  This to me is what mission trips are all about.  Then, the next morning I woke up with a sore back, not much sleep, and feelings of inadequacy and having nothing to offer to this place or my team began attacking me.  I was frantically asking God to give me something, anything.  I was all over the Bible.  I was reading the promises of how I am chosen, loved, that He is with me, He is my strength, etc.  BUT, I couldn't grasp this.  I wasn't getting the reality of this.  I was trying to pull it all together, searching, begging God to show up.  I felt weak, empty and that He would not speak to me when I needed to hear from Him.  I was a basket case.  

Then, more ministry was placed in our laps, ministry that we weren't prepared to do, and that's when I came to the end of my rope.  I KNOW that He is strong when I am weak, but I couldn't grab hold of this truth.  As we were on our way to teach a class at the church on leadership for 2 hours, having no idea what I was going to offer, plans changed and I was on a tuk tuk heading to a small village 45 minutes away.  While driving on the dirt roads through the middle of no where God was speaking to my heart.  I FINALLY realized that these thoughts are from the enemy.  I KNOW that God has such huge plans for the next couple weeks and Satan does not like it.  He doesn't  want me to make an impact here.  Why else would I be in the middle of no where?  There is NO WAY I would be in this tiny village if it wasn't for God.  NO WAY.  He has placed me here to fulfill a part of His plan.  He has handpicked me out of all people to be here.  ME.  I have something to offer these people that no one else can.  I'm just really excited now.  I know great things are about to happen.  There is great anticipation for what is to come.  

We will be going into villages everyday.  In the morning we will be "evangelizing" as a team in individual villages and prayer walking.  Every afternoon for the next 2 weeks Landon and I will be heading to Samaroang Village (about 45 minute ride on motor bikes) to teach English and Bible.  I'm not a teacher so this will be stretching.  But I'm very excited to see the same people consistently and build relationships.  Our schedule is packed.  I know it will be a hard couple weeks but I am reminded that the key is to remain willing and open.  It is a blessing to come along side this church in Kampong Thom.  It is a blessing to share the gospel with people.  It is a blessing to see the way God is moving even when the enemy has strongholds.  Pray for health (a few people have been getting sick).   Pray for energy in this heat.  Pray for courage and building of faith.  Just pray.  We need it.  

Probably won't be blogging for the next week or 2... 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

hope, joy, and eternal life.

We've been in Siem Reap for the past few days on vacation. It's been a really great break of watching movies, eating pizza, swimming, laying in the sun, and site seeing. Angkor Wat is located in Siem Reap which is the largest temple in the world. It was built in the 12th century and the architecture is absolutely amazing. Really cool to see it. Today we are heading to Kampong Thom for village ministry. Still not sure what that looks like, but I'm excited.

I've been processing a lot the past couple days. Basically, going into ministry for the last half of outreach I don't want to miss any opportunities. After seeing the slums and being surrounded constantly by poverty and beggars it's hard not to get a frustrated/helpless feeling of what can I do to change thier situation. It is NOT God's purpose to bring us all the way here just to expose us to the poverty and brokeness of the world. He has sent us here because we have a gift to offer that is greater than any physical thing. We can offer these people HOPE for this life and we can give them eternal life. I am reminded that life is temporary and the most important thing is that these people know Jesus as thier Savior. I want these people to live in full hope and joy. We have to offer that to them! That's our purpose in being here. What if I am the only person God sends to share this message with them?

So, I want to step out in complete faith. I am trusting that He will do this. I want to hear His voice. Opportunities are all around me. I want to take these. I'm not here just to be exposed to this life. I'm here for a purpose. I'm here to make an impact in Cambodia. In the Bible, God performed miracles through men just like us. We have the capabilities to perform miracles and that includes physical needs being met too (feeding the 5,000). We need to realize how capable we are.

Time is precious. This life is short and it's a big test of faith. What do we have to lose? I want to be kingdom-minded.

One more thing:
As I've mentioned earlier, I am learning to die daily. As I am laying down my life over and over I am praying that I would see JOY in dying daily. I am learning the truth of that reality.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I love Cambodia. I love the beautiful people.  I love the story this country tells.  My heart and attitude is completely different than it was in Taiwan.  I am fired up.  I am completely renewed and excited. I am content here. I feel like I could stay here forever.  I'm ready to run as fast and as hard as I can until the end.  But I don't want this to end.  The past week in Taiwan I was distracted/tired/selfish BUT here I feel alive, passionate, and excited.  Both of my feet are here. I am here to claim this as His.  I am more than excited for this fresh start and new opportunities.  I am desperate to be used and to know more of God's character.  

We have been staying in Phnom Penh.  Our first day we had orientation at the YWAM base.  There were 2 other mission teams (from America and Australia) there for orientation as well.  It was really refreshing to see all these young people so passionate about spreading His fame throughout this country.  We were thoroughly informed about Cambodia's history, religion, and life.  I immediately fell in love with this place and one main reason is because of the history and what the people have been through.  I don't know how much ya'll know about the history of this country but it's unbelievable.  About 30 years ago, after centuries of changing political powers, a regime known as the Khmer Rouge held a mass genocide where over 2 million Cambodians were killed.  This regime killed all the educated people, teachers, doctors, and religious people because they wanted Cambodia to be only a farming country, not "corrupted" by western thinking.  So, we visited the memorial, killing fields, and the genocide museum.  Wow.  It was heartbreaking.  It reminded me of the Holocaust.  The killing fields is where the victims were tortured, killed, and buried.  There were skulls, bones, and mass graves.  I couldn't believe what I saw.  After the fields we went to the prison where thousands of victims were imprisoned and exterminated.  The 4 buildings contained individual cells, mass detention centers, lists of prisoners, mugshots, clothes and belongings, art, and photography.  The photographs and paintings will be forever engrained in my head.  Just the reality that I was standing in the exact same place that so many innocent people were tortured, interrogated, and killed was like no other feeling I've ever felt.  As I looked at each individual in the photographs I could see the deep state of fear that was written in their eyes.    I can't believe how little I knew about it.  I will never forget the things I saw.

This gave me such a good understanding of Cambodia and the people here.  I can't believe how recent this was.  Today, 80% of the population is under the age of 30.  This shows how much of the older generation was completely wiped out.  The past few years have been major growing years for this country.  More than anything this has inspired me to stand up against injustice.

The past couple days we were able to help out a ministry in the slums called children at risk.  This was an amazing opportunity.  The spring of this year these people were forced out of the slums in the Phnom Penh (using tear gas) by the government because the city didn't want to look at them anymore.  So, now they live about 30 minutes outside of the city in minimal shelters, if any.  The children are beautiful and so precious.  As the children put on a presentation to honor the fathers I was able to just sit in the audience with children hanging all over me.  I loved every minute of it.  These kids were clinging to me.  There is something cool about communicating only through eyes and touch.  It can say so much sometimes.  After the program we helped serve 350 people dinner.  It was chaotic to say the least, but very fun.  The next day we joined in with the ministry to worship and intercede for this community.  After intercession we split into small groups to make "visitations."  We were able to pray for and encourage several people.  I still can't believe the way these people live.  Some literally are living under a tarp held up by 4 sticks and have been for 3 years!  It's always eye opening to see poverty like this.  My heart breaks for these people and people all over the world in the same situation.  It's just not God's will for His people to live like this.  

It's been really cool to work along side "western" missionaries that have moved here long term.  To see there lifestyle and the willingness to live in such a foreign country has been encouraging and makes it seem do-able.  I've been getting really excited about my Occupational Therapy degree and being able to use it in countries like this.  I am actually thinking that at some point in my life I would love to commit 1 to 3 years to being a missionary in another country.  We'll see what happens...

For now I'm absolutely loving Cambodia.  God is teaching me so much.  My devotion times are SO good.  I couldn't be happier.  We head to Siem Reap in the morning for our 4 day break.  It will be nice to get some sleep and hopefully some sun.  


Friday, June 19, 2009

goodbye taiwan.

So, our time in Taiwan is finished.  I am in the Bangkok airport on my way to Cambodia.  We will have a few days of ministry there and then a 4 day break.  I am ready and excited for this little "holiday" where we will be staying at a hotel in a town called Siem Reap.  I'm hoping to relax in the pool most of the day.  Jeremy (one of the school leaders) met us today in the airport and will be spending about a week with us.  It is SO good to see him.  Definitely think he's going to bring a lot of life and fun to the team.

Yesterday we went on a prayer walk around the city of Danshui. We started at the university there and prayed for the students who are the future leaders of Taiwan.  We also walked through streets known for there brothels and gangs.  As we were praying I was just claiming everything as His.  Very cool to know that I do have the authority to do that.  Next we went into a huge Taoist temple.  This was crazy.  My initial reaction was how glad I am to know the truth and freedom that Jesus offers and that I don't have to work for any of it.  I know that what I believe is the only way. We prayed around the temple and it was just a really cool feeling to know who I am.  We all felt that just our presence in that place made the enemy flee.  I guess I experienced a little taste of my authority in Him.  BUT, then I felt this heaviness.  I was broken for the people in the temple bowing, burning incense and money, and offering food to the gods.  I know that all of this breaks God's heart.  He is so jealous for these people.  He has created them and He longs for them to acknowledge Him.  Very cool but heartbreaking experience. 

The day before we went to a nursing home.  Don't even worry that they asked us to massage the patients.  Wow, this was funny.  Oh Asia...

Oh, Taiwan.  I'll miss Ling and Myi who were are precious translators.  I'm going to miss the amazing slushes and milk teas.  I will not miss walking up the huge hill from the train station and then another 6 flights of stairs to our apartment.  I'm thankful for people like Rebecca who have a heart for the specific country of Taiwan and have moved there long term.  I will not miss the smell of stinky tofu in the streets.  I was very thankful for the AC in our room.  BUT... I am glad to be moving on to the next country.  I'm very excited about Cambodia and then Thailand.  I can't believe we have finished 2 countries.  Prayers are still greatly needed as we need increased focus and more energy.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


So, as I sit here I'm kind of at a loss of words.  I don't really know why.  I can't put my finger on anything.  It's like I'm in a "funk" or something.  Like I said previously, Taiwan has been good, extremely busy, but good.  Doing 100 programs a day isn't my idea of fun ministry but, even though I can't see the fruit now, I know God has worked through us.  I am overwhelmed at the amount of people we have been able to share the gospel with.  God has taught me that I must continually lay down my life and rights.  It doesn't matter that my "heart" isn't really interested in going into schools constantly or that I'm tired.  It doesn't matter that I miss friends, the comfort of America, and that I want freedom to do what I want when I want.  What matters is that people hear the gospel and that God's glory is revealed above everything.  The thing is, I know that when I am thinking about myself something is off in my relationship with Him.  So, why am I so selfish?  I've been getting overwhelmed when I think that I still have 2 months left.  BUT, then again I know when I get home I'm going to want to be right back here again.  I'm going to miss traveling and having such a purpose.  So, why is it so hard to be content?  Why am I constantly thinking ahead?

I think it's because I just want to see God move in MIGHTY ways.  I want to experience my authority in Him.  I want to use the gifts He has given me to reach people.  I want to build relationships and love on people who need it.  Yes, we've done this in certain ways, but it's just not the ways I expected.  I don't want the hunger and passion to see the world completely changed to ever fade away.  And again, I know it is being changed, it's just hard to see sometimes.  

One thing I am reminded of during this weird mood I've been in the past few days is that I have said that I am willing to obey.  With obedience comes suffering.  There is a cost to living for Him.  Two months ago I was more than willing to suffer for His sake.  That was when everything was easy.  Now that it's hard and I am getting worn out, will I persevere?  I don't have it all together (and to be honest, I probably never will), but I will continue fighting for this.  Although I feel like I am disappointing Him with my attitude, I'm not.  He wants all of me but nothing I do makes Him love me less.  That's the beautiful picture of who my God is.  That's why I do this.  That's why I love Him.  That's why I will fight.  

I have to completely depend on God.  I'm not there yet.  I want to be.  I want to be changed.  I want to grow.  I want to be content right where I am.  I am clinging to the fact that when I give my life away I am not losing it, I'm gaining an inheritance greater than my mind can comprehend.  As I am struggling with all these thoughts I am reminded of the verse in Philippians that says, "being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."  I have to be confident in that fact that He is working in me and will continue working in me.  His work in me is only beginning.  It will not end until I am praising Jesus in heaven.  Amen.

This morning as we were worshiping I was really blown away by the truth in the words of the following song:

Hungry I come to You for I know You satisfy.

I am empty but I know Your love does not run dry.

And so I wait for You.  So I wait for you.

I am falling on my knees offering all of me.

Jesus, You're all this heart is living for.

Broken I run to You for Your arms are open wide.

I am weary but I know your touch restores my life.

So I wait for You.  So I wait for You.

I am falling on my knees offering all of me.

Jesus, You're all this heart is living for.

I am clinging to these words today...

Thursday, June 11, 2009

this life is HIS...

The past few days have been jam packed.  We start our days early and end late.  BUT, the opportunities to present the gospel have been many.  The other day we went to a school and did an hour long program seven different times.  Today we went to another school and did it 5 times.  Each time we go into the class rooms we are able to "straight up" present the gospel to them.  Very cool.  Although it's very tiring, I feel like we are making an impact in Taiwan and I love it.  I really feel like I am pouring out right now, if that makes any sense.  And as I continue pouring out it is so important to continue to be renewed and filled back up.  That's probably the biggest struggle right now just because we are SO busy.  

I am LOVING the team, like seriously.  We are all getting along so great and having SO much fun together.  We laugh all the time.  Even when we are in the craziest/weirdest situation, we are laughing.  As we do dramas more and more, we are learning how to add our personalities in them and change them up a little each time.  I love it.  Lets just say there are many times when I'm standing in front of a congregation with tears streaming and body shaking because I'm trying with everything in me not to BURST into laughter (I ALWAYS fail).  There is so much joy amongst us which makes for good times.  At the end of everyday we can't stop laughing about all the little things that happened over the course of the day.

Probably what I'm learning the most right now is completely dying to myself.  Last night I was exhausted and my attitude was just not good.  I was at the end of my rope.  But then I was reminded that this life isn't mine.  It's God's.  I'm created for Him.  God is reminding me daily to lay my life down.  When I don't feel like doing one more drama, or meeting with the team, or sharing my testimony I am reminded that it's not about me.  When I fall asleep at night and when I wake up in the morning I tell God that I am His and everything in me is His.  It's NOT easy.  In fact is so much harder than I ever thought it would be.  I'm tired....but when I am weak then He is strong. 

Ok, so I'm just going to leave you with a little list of crazy things that have happened over the past few days:

-being forced to sing 'Oh Happy Day" on street corners.

-eating an ice cream the size of texas.


-drinks that are filled with "pearls" (aka fish eyes/eggs)

-being on Taiwanese church TV.

-teaching the electric slide to asian youth.

-"everything" drama....

-Taipei 101...aka....tallest building in the world (Me and Emrie's videos are PRICELESS....I'll try and post them....)

-Train rides...

-Going to a church that is literally a cracked out version of Jesus meets The Wiggles. No joke.

-Just being in freaking TAIWAN, who does this???

Asia never ceases to amaze me....

Sunday, June 7, 2009

oh happy day...

As you know, I am in Taiwan now.  I am going to admit that I was least excited about this outreach location.  I don't know why.  I guess I just never thought I would come here.  But, I freaking LOVE this place.  I had no expectations.  Although we have only been here a few days I am in love.  I've never been anywhere like this.  I wouldn't say it's nice...kind of dirty and 70s looking...if that makes any sense at all.  But there is something really appealing about all the little streets, scooters, vendors, and the asian people.   It's crazy to see Mandarin symbols everywhere!  No words at all.  A little frustrating trying to order anything or even using the internet.  Pictures are what I am relying on.  Most of the food has been amazing.  The only complaint are the weird smells as you walk down the streets.  The most potent/worst smell in the world is a food known as "stinky tofu."  Sick.  We are living on the 6th floor of an apartment-like building (SO fun carrying our HUGE backpacks up 6 flights of stairs...ha).  We walk EVERYWHERE here which is great!  I need the exercise, especially after all the greasy food.

The city we are in is called Danshui.  It's about 30 minutes outside of Taipei with about .3% Christians (yes thats a POINT three percent).  Other popular religions here are Chinese Taoism, Buddhism, and ancestry worship.  YWAM has a lot of ministries here.  The Rock is one YWAM ministry we will be working with every night.  It's a coffee shop in the center of the city.  It is open every night and offers free drinks.  Locals come in to hang out, build relationships, and to learn and practice english.  It's been open 13 years, while the other buildings around it are constantly going through new owners/shops.  That is a testimony to the city in and of itself.  When your foundation is built upon "the rock," it is strong in the Lord.  A YWAMer from Wisconsin runs the shop and has lived here for 8 years.  It's really cool to see her completely devoted to sharing the gospel with the Taiwanese people.

Saturday was AMAZING.  I felt like we accomplished so much.  It was a day completely filled with ministry.  I felt so used, so filled with the Spirit, and completely in His will.  We partnered with a local church.  In the morning we broke into groups with a few congregation members and went out to share the gospel.  It is SO needed here.  We talked to many people.  I felt really submerged in Taiwanese culture.  They are so hospitable, and all about respect and honor.  After lunch we went to an after school program that a group randomly came across that morning.  The head of program is a Christian but the program is not.  She told us that she had been trying to figure out a way to present the gospel to these children.  It was EXACTLY God's plan and timing.  We were able to do dramas, songs, games, and present the gospel.  They were SO receptive and I really felt like they understood our message.  Many hands were raised as the question 'does anyone want to ask Jesus into their heart?' was asked.  Very cool.  PTL (praise the Lord).  We also did our first open air today complete with dramas, testimonies, songs, etc.  The Holy Spirit was there and working.  Again, I was reminded that this was EXACTLY where God wanted us.  He was moving.  I know He is moving when the hairs on my arms are constantly standing up (ha, weird?).

I'm really loving the new Hillsong United CD.  Lyrics are so good. 

Declaring "God of this City" over this place all day.




Asia is FUNNY.  Am I really here?  

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

peace out bali.

Well, here I am in the Singapore airport with our first outreach location behind me.  Crazy.  Bali was an adventure.  From hospitals to schools, to churches and street kids, to beautiful beaches and parasailing, to tokays and unbearable heat.  I can't believe 16 days have come and gone.  When we first arrived it felt like we would be there forever.  Ministry time in Bali was amazing for the most part but I felt like we never really found a "groove."  Let's just say Bali is on "island time."  A lot of things wouldn't work out or would be cancelled at the last minute.  But we got used to this.  

One thing I'll really miss about Bali is our 2 Indonesian friends, Agunk and Ravon.  I LOVE them.  I wish they would come live in America and be my friend. They work with one of the churches we partnered with during our time.  On our days off they always joined us and showed us all the "best" locations in Bali.  They brought SO much life and laughter to us.  It was sad saying bye to them this morning, knowing I'll probably never see them again.  But, really cool to have friends half way across the world.  Isn't it wonderful how big our family is when we are Christians?  I love it.  

When I try and think where I really am in the world, it blows my mind.  Only God could have brought me here.  I am in ASIA...what?!?!  What is this life that I am living right now?  Our flight from Bali arrived in Singapore this morning and we leave tomorrow morning.  We spent the day touring the city of Singapore.  Really weird to be thrown into such a huge, clean, wealthy city after time in Bali.  Transitions are weird.  Really weird.  As Emrie and I have explored this city together we are both realizing how much we miss home, our families, our friends, and just our stupid material possessions.  We are so excited for what God has for us but we are realizing that traveling is not easy.  I LOVE Emrie and I am SO thankful for her on this journey.  Outreach has definitely been different than what I expected.  I know Taiwan will look very different from Bali.  I am excited to see what God has for us there.  I am excited to move on and spread His love to more of the world.   I am praying for a renewing of minds and spirits.

This is what I am clinging to:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18